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Thread: Things To Know

  1. #61
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    Post Re: Things To Know

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    Yom Kippur

    Lev 16:29-34 . . And it shall be a statute to you for ever that in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall afflict yourselves, and shall do no work, either the native or the stranger who sojourns among you; for on this day shall atonement be made for you, to cleanse you; from all your sins you shall be clean before The Lord.

    . . . It is a sabbath of solemn rest to you, and you shall afflict yourselves; it is a statute for ever.

    . . . And the priest who is anointed and consecrated as priest in his father's place shall make atonement, wearing the holy linen garments; he shall make atonement for the sanctuary, and he shall make atonement for the tent of meeting and for the altar, and he shall make atonement for the priests and for all the people of the assembly.

    . . . And this shall be an everlasting statute for you, that atonement may be made for the people of Israel once in the year because of all their sins. And Moses did as The Lord commanded him.

    See also Lev 23:27-32, and Num 29:7

    There are many more details to Yom Kippur than the above, but the rest doesn't really matter all that much to Christians because the New Testament only concerns itself with the ritual's limitations.

    In the letter to Hebrews; it's explained that Yom Kippur's atonement is only good for sins committed up to that point; i.e. the very moment that the high priest completes the full and complete ritual, new sins immediately begin to accumulate on the books that require cleansing by yet another Yom Kippur ritual; and another, and another, and another, ad infinitum; viz: Yom Kippur's atonement is never sufficient to cleanse sins once and for all. In other words: Yom Kippur's atonement is always and only for cleansing the people's past sins; never their future sins.

    FYI: Never wish a Jewish person happy Yom Kippur because it is not a day of joy like Christmas and birthdays, no, it is specifically a day of sadness and self-affliction; which is from a Hebrew word meaning to mistreat, humiliate, oppress, break the spirit, demean, abuse, weaken, injure, abase, etc.

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  2. #62
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    Post Re: Things To Know

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    Jesus Christ And The Original Sin

    Some folk posit that Mary was, in some manner, a sort of surrogate mother, i.e. Jesus' embryo was an implant. Others sincerely believe that Mary's baby was an alternate species of human life totally unrelated to her own, i.e. another Adam, so to speak; basing their posit on 1Cor 15:45.

    But the Bible testifies that Jesus Christ was Mary's honest to gosh, bona fide biological human progeny.

    Q: How can you be so sure that Jesus Christ was produced from his mother's human egg, viz: her ovum?

    A: Not only the Bible; but also the science of Biology bears that out.

    Christ is stated to be born of David's seed-- not spiritual seed, rather, human seed.

    Acts 13:22-23 . . "I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfill all my will". Of this man's seed hath God, according to His promise, raised unto Israel a savior, Jesus

    Rom 1:1-3 . . Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh

    The koiné Greek word for "seed" in those two passages is sperma (sper' mah) which in males typically refers to their reproductive stuff and/or their genetic material.

    Bear in mind that we're talking about flesh here; not spirit; viz: an honest to gosh human being rather than a spirit being; nor-- God forbid --an avatar.

    Now, in order for Christ to descend from David's flesh, one of his biological descendants had to be involved. So then, seeing as how Jesus was virgin conceived, then his mother became the default progenitor, i.e. Mary was one of David's granddaughters.

    Luke 1:31 . . You will conceive in your womb and bear a son; the Lord God will give him the throne of his father David

    An implanted embryo isn't a conceived embryo. Conception takes place in a woman's womb when her ovum is involved in the process.

    Heb 7:14 . . It is clear that our Lord arose from Judah

    Q: If Jesus Christ really was David's biological progeny; then wouldn't his mom have passed the guilt of Adam's sin to him?

    A: Yes; absolutely, because the whole entirety of Adam's posterity-- regardless of age, race, or gender --is automatically condemned for tasting the forbidden fruit.

    Note the grammatical tense of the passage below-- it's past tense; indicating that the moment Adam tasted the forbidden fruit, he and his posterity became guilty of tasting it-- in real time --including those of his family yet to be born.

    Rom 5:12 . . Sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned

    Rom 5:19 . .Through the disobedience of the one man, the many were made sinners.

    Well; the trick is: though Adam's disobedience made his posterity sinners; it didn't make them sinful: that's something else altogether. We're not talking about the so-called "fallen nature" here, we're just talking about joint principals in Adam's act of disobedience.

    The good news is: Adam's sin is not a sin unto hell. No; it's very simple to clear his sin off the books seeing as how life's end is the proper satisfaction of justice for what he did (Gen 2:16-17). The satisfaction of justice for his posterity's own personal sins is another matter.

    Q: If Jesus Christ was made a joint principal in Adam's slip-up, then how can it be honestly said that Christ was a lamb without blemish or spot?

    A: Adam's slip made Christ culpable right along with his fellow men, yes; but it didn't make him sinful. In point of fact; Christ committed no personal sins of his own. (John 8:29, 2Cor 5:21, Heb 4:15, 1Pet 2:22)

    Q: What was the secret to his success?

    A: Jesus Christ is a mysterious amalgam of human and divine. Not only did he descend from David according to the flesh, but Christ also descended from God according to the Spirit. (Luke 1:32-35, Rom 1:3). That is quite an advantage because according to 1John 3:9, that which is born of God not only doesn't sin, but cannot sin.

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  3. #63
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    Post Re: Things To Know

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    How Christ Became Solomon's Successor

    Q: Seeing as how Christ was virgin conceived; how did he get into Joseph's genealogy as per the first chapter of Matthew?

    A: At Gen 48:5-7, Jacob adopted his own two biological grandsons Manasseh and Ephraim; thus installing them in positions equal in rank, honor, and power to his twelve original sons, which had the effect of adding additional children to Rachel's brood just as effectively as the children born of her maid Bilhah-- Dan, and Naphtali.

    Jacob's motive for adopting his son Joseph's two sons was in sympathy for his deceased wife being cut off during her child-bearing years, which subsequently prevented her from having any more children of her own. Ephraim and Manasseh bring Rachel's total up to six: two of her own, two by her maid Bilhah, and two by Joseph's wife Asenath.

    Now, fast-forward to the New Testament where the angel of The Lord spoke to Joseph in a dream and ordered him to take part in naming Mary's out-of-wedlock baby.

    "She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus" (Matt 1:21)

    Joseph complied.

    "And he gave him the name Jesus." (Matt 1:25)

    So Christ went in the books as Joseph's son; because that's how it worked in those days when a man stood with a woman to name her child. In other words: Christ became Joseph's son by means of adoption, just as Ephraim and Manasseh became Jacob's sons by means of adoption.

    Q: But wouldn't it be more accurate to say that Jesus was Joseph's foster child rather than adopted child?

    A: Webster's defines "foster" as affording, receiving, or sharing nurture or parental care though not related by blood or legal ties. In other words: foster children have no inheritance rights nor a legitimate place in their foster father's genealogy. Foster children are expendable.

    In contrast; Webster's defines "adopt" as to take voluntarily (a child of other parents) as one's own child. In other words: adopted children have inheritance rights and a legitimate place in their adopted father's genealogy. Adopted children are permanent.

    Jesus' adoption was essential because even though he was born a biological candidate for David's throne, he wasn't born a legitimate candidate. The reason being that the throne passed to Solomon rather than his brother Nathan. Plus, the throne never passes down through women, only men. Mary provided Jesus a biological right to David's throne, but she could not provide him a legal right to it.

    John Q and Jane Doe pew warmer are often unaware of the strict biblical conditions that dictate ascendance to David's throne and so are easily led to believe that Joseph was Jesus' foster father instead of his adopted father.

    NOTE: Just in case there's a man looking in on this thinking about adopting his wife's children from a previous marriage; should the two of you later divorce; she can legally make you pay child support for another man's kids because when you adopt them, the law and the courts regard their status as your own biological progeny.

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  4. #64
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    Post Re: Things To Know

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    Jonah

    Matt 12:39-40 . . As Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

    The Lord paralleled his own afterlife journey with Jonah's. Well, seeing as how Christ was dead for most of the time that he was in the tomb, then I think it's valid to conclude that Jonah was dead for most of the time that he was in the fish.

    According to Jonah's second chapter, there were moments during his nautical adventure when he was in two places at once: the fish's belly and the bottoms of the mountains.

    Seeing as how the Lord paralleled his own journey with Jonah's, then I believe it is valid to conclude that there were moments in Christ's adventure when he was in two places at once too: the tomb's belly and also the bottoms of the mountains; i.e. the heart of the earth.

    (It doesn't take much education to know that the bottoms of the mountains are situated in neither a fish's tummy, nor a tomb.)

    Jesus appropriated the story of Jonah to predict his resurrection. Unfortunately people are typically distracted by the time element; consequently totally missing the parallel's purpose. The average rank and file pew warmer is convinced that Jonah was alive the whole time he was in the fish. Well, had he been, then Jesus would had to been alive the whole time he was in the tomb; otherwise the parallel fails.

    Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites and also a sign to Jesus' generation (Matt 13:39-40, Luke 11:29-30). The word "sign" is translated from a koiné Greek word that's sometimes used in the gospels to indicate miracles. Now, had Jonah merely survived the fish's tummy, that would not be the kind of sign that Jesus had in mind. He needed a miraculous event that would adequately depict his own; the reason being that Jesus was not on track to be resuscitated, no, Jesus was on track to be resurrected because he would be quite dead from crucifixion. (John 19:33)

    According to Jonah 2:6, the prophet was spared putrefaction. Well; according to Ps 16:8-10 and Acts 2:25-31, Jesus too was spared putrefaction. Thus it all came to pass just as the Lord said: As Jonah, so the Son of Man.

    Q: Why make a fuss over whether Jonah was dead or alive?

    A: Because Jonah's adventure gives us a clearer concept of the scope of hades; the location to which Christ retired during the three days and nights that his corpse reposed in the tomb (Acts 2:25-31). No doubt hades refers to the grave, but that's not all. According to Jonah, hades also refers to the netherworld.

    NOTE: Commentators smarter and better educated than I posit that Jonah 2:3-7 recounts Jonah's demise via drowning. In other words: Jonah was dead before he was laid to rest in the fish's tummy just as Christ was dead before he was laid to rest in the tomb.

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  5. #65
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    Post Re: Things To Know

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    Hell vs Common Sense

    I watched an educational series on NetFlix in September of 2014 called "The Inexplicable Universe: Unsolved Mysteries" hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson Ph.D. director of the Hayden Planetarium. Mr. Tyson said, in so many words; that in the study of Physics, one must sometimes abandon sense and accept discoveries as they are no matter how contrary to logic they may seem.

    The NASA teams that sent Pioneers, Voyagers and Mariners out to explore the planets came to the very same conclusion: they learned to abandon their logical expectations and instead expect the unexpected; and they encountered plenty.

    The discovery of the cosmos' accelerating expansion was very discouraging for cosmologist Alan Sandage-- once a proponent of the theory that the universe would eventually run out of explosive energy from the Big Bang and gradually pull itself back together --and called the discovery of the ever increasing velocity of the expanding universe a terrible surprise. And of course it is because the known laws of gravity, combined with common sense, demand that the ballooning universe eventually slow down, stop expanding, and shrink rather than picking up speed.

    In the field of Christianity, as in the fields of Physics and planetary exploration, faith believes what's revealed to it rather than only what makes sense to it.

    I readily admit that the idea of people existing in an altered state, consciously suffering to time indefinite, makes no sense at all to my human mind's way of thinking, and seems to totally contradict the nature of a divine patron reputed to be kind, caring, and sympathetic. But just as science admits to many unsolved mysteries; so does Christianity. And there's no shame in that. The shame is in pretending to have complete understanding of a supernatural entity that by its very nature defies reason and common sense.

    1Cor 2:13-14 . . A natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.

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  6. #66
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    Post Re: Things To Know

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    Ways To Describe Grace

    1Cor 1:3 . . Grace to you, and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

    I seriously doubt that John Q and Jane Doe pew warmer have an adequate concept of grace. I suspect that most are under the impression that grace is somehow a quantifiable substance like butter and gasoline; but in regards to God, grace is an abstract noun that expresses personal qualities apart from substance.

    The New Testament Greek word for "grace" is charis (khar'-ece); which means: graciousness.

    Webster's defines graciousness as: kind, courteous, inclined to good will, generous, charitable, merciful, altruistic, compassionate, thoughtful, cordial, affable, genial, sociable, cheerful, warm, sensitive, considerate, and tactful.

    Cordial stresses warmth and heartiness

    Affable implies easy approachability and readiness to respond pleasantly to conversation or requests or proposals

    Genial stresses cheerfulness and even joviality

    Sociable suggests a genuine liking for the companionship of others

    Generous is characterized by a noble or forbearing spirit; viz: magnanimous, kindly, and liberal in giving

    Charitable means full of love for, and goodwill toward, others; viz: benevolent, tolerant, and lenient.

    Altruistic means unselfish regard for, or devotion to, the welfare of others; viz: a desire to be of service to others for no other reason than it just feels good to do so.

    Tactful indicates a keen sense of what to do, or say, in order to maintain good relations with others in order to resolve and/or avoid unnecessary conflict.

    Compassion defines a sympathetic awareness of others' distress, coupled with a desire to alleviate it.

    The Old Testament Hebrew word for grace is chen (khane); and means the same as charis (e.g. Gen 6:8).

    When you put all those lovely attributes together, you get a pretty good picture of the bright side of God's personality. There's a dark side too; but grace doesn't go there.

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  7. #67
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    Knowing Your Religion is Right

    "Faith is believin' what you know ain't so."
    -- Mark Twain --

    Every so often I get asked how I know that my beliefs are true. My answer is: I don't know if they're true. Then of course they follow up with: Then why do you believe your beliefs are true when you have no way of knowing they're true?

    Most of the people who ask me those kinds of questions are genuine; they're not trying to trip me up and make a fool out of me. They really are curious about it. So I tell them that though I don't know if my beliefs are true, my instincts tell me they are; in other words: I cannot shake the gnawing conviction that they're true.

    "I have never seen what to me seemed an atom of truth that there is a future life . . . and yet . . .
    I am strongly inclined to expect one."
    -- Mark Twain --

    Twain logically concluded that there is no afterlife, but his instincts did not agree with his thinking; and I dare not criticize him for that because even my own religion requires that I believe in my heart rather then only in my head.

    Why does any believer believe what they believe? Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu, Bahá'í, Hare Krishna, Jehovah's Witness, Mormon, Catholic, Baptist, Judaism, Voodoo, Wiccan, Jain, Druze, Native American, etc, etc, etc. The answer? It appeals to them.

    It's a known fact that quite a few voters do their voting not with their head but with their gut. In other words, they settle on a candidate based upon how they feel about him, and then argue their decision.

    Take for instance President Barack Hussein Obama. A large block of Americans voted for him solely on the basis of the color of his skin rather than his executive ability. (Ironically Mr. Obama isn't even Black. He's what used to be called Mulatto prior to the era of political correctness, but now called Mixed Race; viz: his father was Black, but his mother was White. Lucky for Mr. Obama that his skin turned out dark or he may never have been nominated for US President, let alone elected.)

    "It ain't what you know that gets you into trouble.
    It's what you know for sure that just ain't so."
    -- Mark Twain --

    Bigotry is rampant in the world of religions; and it's not uncommon for someone to shriek; "That's a lie!" and/or "You're wrong!" I like to tell bigots that they really ought to be a bit more circumspect with their choice of words lest the hapless day arrives when they are forced to eat them.

    It is of course impossible that all religions are right; that's pretty much a given. But on the other hand, it's very possible that none are right. So I would say that when settling upon a religion, don't worry so much about picking the one that's right; instead pick the one that's right for you; and if none are right for you, then in my estimation; you're just as well off because if your heart's not in it; then let's face it; your choice is no less arbitrary than randomly selecting cookies out of a jar of 100.

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  8. #68
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    Post Re: Things To Know

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    The Rich Man, Lazarus, And Abraham

    Fiction can be defined as stories about people, places, and events that, though untrue; are plausible; viz: realistic.

    Fantasy can be defined as stories about people, places, and events that are not only untrue; but implausible; viz: unrealistic.

    For example: a story about a wooden boy like Pinocchio is unrealistic; while a story about a boy with autism is realistic. The difference between Pinocchio and the autistic boy is that the one is compatible with normal reality; while the other is far removed from normal reality.

    I have yet to read even one of Jesus Christ's parables that could not possibly be a real-life story. They're all actually quite believable-- banquets, stewards, weddings, farmers sowing seed, pearls, lost sheep, fish nets, women losing coins, sons leaving home, wineskins bursting, tares among the wheat, leavened bread, barren fig trees, the blind leading the blind, et al.

    Now; if Christ had told one that alleged the moon was made of green cheese; we would have good reason to believe that at least that one was fantasy; but none of them are like that. No; there's nothing out of the ordinary in his parables. At best; Christ's parables might qualify as fiction; but never fantasy because none of them are so far removed from the normal round of human experience that they have no basis in reality whatsoever.

    Luke 16:19-31 is commonly alleged to be a parable; which of course implies that the story is fiction; and some would even say fantasy. But the parable theory has a fatal flaw. Abraham is not a fictional character: he's a real-life man; the father of the Hebrew people, held in very high esteem by at least three of the world's prominent religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. And he's also the friend of God (Isa 41:8). I simply cannot believe that Jesus Christ-- a man famous among normal Christians for his honesty and integrity --would say something untrue about a famous real-life man; especially about one of his Father's buddies.

    And on top of that, the story quotes Abraham a number of times. Well; if the story is fiction, then Jesus Christ is on record testifying that Abraham said things that he didn't really say; which is a clear violation of the commandment that prohibits bearing false witness.

    There is something else to consider.

    The story of the rich man and Lazarus didn't originate with Jesus Christ. No, it originated with his Father. In other words: Jesus Christ was micro-managed.

    John 3:34 . . He is sent by God. He speaks God's words

    John 8:26 . . He that sent me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of Him.

    John 8:28 . . I do nothing on my own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught me.

    John 12:49 . . I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, He gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.

    John 14:24 . .The word which you hear is not mine, but the Father's who sent me.

    So, by alleging that Luke 16:19-31 is fiction/fantasy, the parable theory slanders God by insinuating that He's a person of marginal integrity who can't be trusted to tell the truth about people, not even about His own friends.

    God's impeccable character is what makes that narrative all the more disturbing. Unless somebody can prove, beyond a shadow of sensible doubt, that Christ's Father is a tale-spinner; I pretty much have to assume the narrative was drawn from real-life; and if not drawn from real life, then at least based upon real life.

    In other words: there really is an afterlife place of conscious suffering where people endure unbearable anxiety worrying their loved ones are on a road to where they are and there is no way to warn them; which brings to mind the survivors of the Titanic watching their loved ones go to Davy Jones while utterly helpless to do anything about it.

    People for whom I feel the most pity are parents that brought up their children to walk in mom and dad's ideological footsteps and the ideology turned out to be mistaken. How do people in hell bear up under something like that on their conscience?

    /

  9. #69
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    Post Re: Things To Know

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    Christ's Demise

    The Koran's Christ didn't pass away on the cross.

    "And their saying: Surely we have killed the Messiah, Isa son of Marium, the apostle of Allah; and they did not kill him nor did they crucify him, but it appeared to them so (like Isa) and most surely those who differ therein are only in a doubt about it; they have no knowledge respecting it, but only follow a conjecture, and they killed him not for sure." (The Women 4.157)

    The Bible's Christ fully expired.

    "And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said: Father, into Thy hands I commit my spirit. And having said this, he breathed his last." (Luke 23:46)

    "When they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus' side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe." (John 19:31-35)

    Since Jesus was somewhat elevated, (it's not stated exactly how high) the spear point would have entered his body at an upward angle. The text doesn't say which side was penetrated, but from John's description, and judging from the intent of the soldier to leave no doubt about Jesus' death, the heart side was very likely the side they cut into and the spear point would've entered just under his rib cage.

    The heart is surrounded by a membrane called the pericardium; which serves to contain a serous material resembling water to prevent the surface of the heart from becoming dry and/or chafed by its continual motion. It was very likely this which was pierced and from which the water flowed. The point of the spear also seems to have reached one of the ventricles of the heart, and the blood, yet warm, rushed forth, either mingled with, or followed by, the liquor of the pericardium, so as to appear to John to be blood and water flowing together. Though not medically accurate in our day, John's calling the serous fluid "water" was accurate enough in his own day.

    Had Christ managed to survive the spear he most certainly would have died of suffocation. According to the records, his friends covered his face with a towel, wrapped him with strips of cloth like a mummy, and coated him with a paste consisting of 75 pounds of myrrh and aloes: all of which served to not only put him in a straight jacket, but also sealed him in an air-tight cocoon of sorts.

    1• The Towel

    "And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself." (John 20:7)

    The koiné Greek word translated "napkin" is soudarion (soo-dar'-ee-on) which defines a sweat-cloth; viz: a towel for wiping the perspiration from the face, or binding the face of a corpse.

    2• The Mummy

    "Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes" (John 19:40)

    "And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself." (John 20:7)

    The Greek word translated "wound" is deo (deh'-o) which means to bind

    The Greek word translated "linen cloths" is othonion (oth-on'-ee-on) which defines bandages.

    3• The Cocoon

    "And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight. Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury." (John 19:39-40)

    Myrrh is a gum resin. The aloe of that day was a thick liquid taken from an aromatic tree and used in medicines and cosmetics, etc. Blending those two ingredients together produced a nice sticky goo that could be slathered and plastered all over the deceased to seal the body and retard putrefaction and/or seal in odors and thwart vermin. This was likely the final step just prior to wrapping the whole affair in a shroud (Matt 27:59).

    So all told-- the crucifixion, the spear, the face towel, the wrappings, and the gooey paste --I think it's pretty safe to conclude that Christ, as he is depicted in the Bible, was quite deceased.

    /

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    Christ's Recovery

    There lacks a universal consensus regarding the nature of Christ's resurrection. Some say his crucified body came back to life. Some say that his crucified body was exchanged for a glorified body. Still others say that Christ's crucified body not only didn't recover, but he came back with a spirit body; and his post resurrection physical appearances were done as an angel disguised in a fully-functioning human avatar.

    It's evident that Christ has a glorified body at present (Php 3:20-21) but I really don't think such was the case out at the cemetery.

    John 2:19-22 . . Jesus answered them: Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days. The Jews replied: It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days? But the temple he had spoken of was his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said.

    Had not Christ's crucified body revived, then his prediction would be easily proven false because the temple he spoke of was "this temple" viz: the body he was standing in as he spoke with the Jews.

    Q: If Christ didn't come back from death with the glorified body spoken of in Php 3:20-21, then how and when did he obtain it?

    A: Some day the bodies of all Christ's believing followers will be raised from the dead and taken up to meet the Lord in the air (1Thes 3:14-17). On the way up, the bodies will undergo a sudden, miraculous transformation (1Cor 15:51-53). I think it's pretty safe to assume that Christ's body underwent a similar transformation while on the way up to heaven as per Acts 1:9 so that today his body is no longer a normal human body; but instead a superhuman body to which all his believing followers' bodies will one day conform.

    Q: What about the fact that he was able to pass through a locked door? (John 20:19). Surely a normal human body could never do such a thing.

    A: Jesus Christ was virgin-conceived, walked on water, calmed storms, restored withered limbs, put the lame up on their feet, healed blindness and leprosy, multiplied loaves and fishes, converted water into wine, raised the dead, withered a fig tree, levitated into the sky, etc. Come on now; what's one more miracle more or less for a man like that?

    Q: Why make a big deal out of the nature of Christ's resurrection?

    A1: Were I the Devil, I would do my utmost best to disprove Jesus' bodily resurrection because his bodily crucifixion is only half enough to protect people from the wrath of God. Though his bodily crucifixion obtains forgiveness for people's sins, it does not gain people an acquittal; i.e. a verdict of innocence.

    Rom 4:25 . . He was delivered over to death for our sins, and was raised to life for our justification.

    The Greek word translated "justification" is dikaiosis (dik-ah'-yo-sis) which means acquittal; i.e. a verdict of innocence; viz: exoneration.

    People merely forgiven still carry a load of guilt; viz: they have a criminal record. Christ's bodily resurrection expunges their record so that on the books, it's as though they've never done anything bad.

    This clearing of one's record that I'm talking about is obtained via the kindness and generosity of God through belief in the resurrection of Christ's crucified body. If the Devil can succeed in convincing people that Jesus' crucified body is still dead or, even better yet, make them question whether the man even existed at all; then they will fail to obtain an acquittal, and consequently end up put to death in brimstone because records are to be reviewed when people stand to face justice at the Great White Throne event depicted at Rev 20:11-15.

    A2: Belief in Christ's bodily resurrection is one of the essential elements of the gospel that must be accepted if one is to have any hope at all of escaping the lake of brimstone.

    1Cor 15:1-4 . . Now I make known to you, brothers, the good news which I declared to you, which you also received, in which you also stand, through which you are also being saved, with the speech with which I declared the good news to you, if you are holding it fast, unless, in fact, you became believers to no purpose.

    . . . For I handed on to you, among the first things, that which I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that he was buried, yes, that he has been raised up the third day according to the Scriptures.

    Paul goes on to say that if Christ's crucified body did not revive, then his followers haven't a prayer of escaping the sum of all fears.

    1Cor 15:17 . . If Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.

    FYI: What and/or where are the scriptures about which Paul spoke? There's at least two. One is the story of Jonah; which Christ appropriated as a "sign" of his own resurrection. (Jonah 1:17, Matt 12:40). Another is in the book of Psalms at 16:8-10 (cf. Acts 2:22-36)

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    Inspiration

    2Tim 3:16 . . All Scripture is inspired by God

    The Greek word for "inspired" is theopneustos (theh-op'-nyoo-stos) which is a combination of theo which means deity (i.e. a god), and pneustos which means to inflate: as in blowing up a balloon or a soccer ball and/or filling a boat's sails with wind.

    Theopneustos is probably about as close as you'll get for a Greek word corresponding to Gen 2:7 where it's stated:

    "Then Yhvh God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being."

    "breathed into" is pretty much what theopneustos says. But the breath of life isn't artificial respiration. Pumping air into a corpse doesn't work. It's been tried. The breath of life is a mysterious energy with enough power to even make solid rock sentient. (Luke 3:8)

    What all this means is: scripture is more than just text-- God has willed scripture to have a peculiar kind of life all its own.

    Heb 4:12-13 . . For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.

    Scripture, then, is a divine agent: it speaks about God, it speaks for God, and it speaks as God. In a manner of speaking then: scripture can be thought of as a close encounter with God; not in person of course, but as close to God as His spirit, teamed with the Bible texts, can bring Him.

    "In its pages we recognize His voice, we hear a message of deep significance for every one of us. Through the spiritual dynamism and prophetic force of the Bible, the Holy Spirit spreads His light and His warmth over all men, in whatever historical or sociological situation they find themselves." (Paulus PP VI, from the Vatican, September 18, 1970)

    Paulus PP VI said it well. So then: when people listen to the Bible, they listen to God; and when they mock and ridicule the Bible, they mock and ridicule God; not directly of course, but indirectly; which is serious enough to warrant consequences.

    The voice of God is set to be called as a witness in the prosecution's case against certain individuals.

    John 12:48-49 . . He who rejects me, and does not receive my sayings, has one who judges him: the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day. For I did not speak on my own initiative, but the Father himself who sent me has given me commandment, what to say, and what to speak.

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    Interpretation

    "Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation."

    The KJV's obsolete language is misleading. Here's that same passage in updated language.

    2Pet 1:20-21 . . Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

    That passage isn't talking about one's own personal understanding of prophecy, rather, the origin of prophecy. In other words: the sayings of the prophets didn't arise from human reasoning and a fertile imagination. No, they got their sayings directly from God.

    Now, the sayings they got from God are not quite the same as the sayings that you see in print. No, the sayings you see in print are the prophets' interpretations of the sayings they got from God; viz: they translated God's language and grammar into common language and grammar that you and I can understand. That's pretty amazing when you think about it.

    For example: Jesus once said that his words are spirit (John 6:63). Well that right there is a bit of a problem because I don't have in my possession an Enigma machine designed to decode spirit words; so were I not blessed with the anointing as per 1John 2:26-27, I'd be sort of like a blind man in a dark room looking for a black cat that isn't there when it comes to spirit words.

    1Cor 2:12-13 . .We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.

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    Sons And Bums

    Deut 21:18-21 . . If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him, his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town. They shall say to the elders, "This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a profligate and a drunkard." Then all the men of his town shall stone him to death. You must purge the evil from among you.

    The koinë Greek word for "profligate" is zalal (zaw-lal') which, among other things, means to be morally loose and/or worthless

    The koinë word for drunkard refers to heavy drinking; which could refer to wild parties and such.

    Those words don't describe minor children, rather, of-age children, i.e. legally adults still living at home and mooching off their parents instead of out on their own, working for a living to support themselves.

    There's a rule of thumb that says "When you live in our house, you'll live by our rules". Well; the bum described in Deut 21:18-21 not only mooches off his parents, but does whatever he pleases in their home, not caring how mom and dad might feel about anything.

    These days that's becoming more and more common when 26 is the new 21. Kids are staying home longer than they used to. Well; there's nothing intrinsically wrong with kids staying home longer, but when their lifestyle becomes intolerable for their parents, it's time for them to move out.

    Why is the punishment so severe for bums? Well for starters; it violates one of the Ten Commandments.

    Ex 20:12a . . Honor your father and your mother,

    Failure to comply with that command merits dying before one's time.

    Ex 20:12b . . that your days may be prolonged in the land which Yhvh your God gives you. (cf. Eph 6:1-3)

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    Jephthah's Daughter

    Judg 11:30-32 . . And Jephthah made a vow to Yhvh and said: If you will indeed give the sons of Ammon into my hand, then it shall be that whatever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me when I return in peace from the sons of Ammon, it shall be the Lord's, and I will offer it up as a burnt offering.

    Some of the "houses" back in that day were constructed as an enclosed compound; which included a courtyard. Around the periphery of the courtyard were the family's living quarters and sometimes accommodations for certain of the family's animals. The "door" of the house served not as an entry to the family's living quarters, rather, as a gate to the courtyard.

    Something very similar to that description is depicted in the Charlton Heston movie Ben Hur. I rather suspect that at least of few of the animals were allowed to freely roam the courtyard and were Jephthah's intended sacrifice rather than his kin. That would help explain the bitter disappointment he expressed when his daughter met him first.

    As for giving his daughter to the priests for a burnt offering; that just wasn't done. Human sacrifice isn't specified in the covenant that Yhvh's people agreed upon with God as per Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy; so offering a human on the Altar would have been a violation.

    Deut 4:2 . .You shall not add anything to what I command you or take anything away from it, but keep the commandments of the Lord your God that I enjoin upon you.

    Deut 5:29-30 . . Be careful, then, to do as the Lord your God has commanded you. Do not turn aside to the right or to the left: follow only the path that the Lord your God has enjoined upon you

    In the end, Jephthah's daughter didn't bewail the loss of her life; rather, the loss of any hope of having a family of her own. I've a feeling she joined other women of Israel dedicated to assisting with things in and around the Temple vicinity (cf. 1Sam 2:22). According to 1Cor 7:34, that vocation is better suited to unencumbered single women than married.

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    Of Babes And Bears

    2Kgs 2:23-24 . . And [Elisha] went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head. And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of The Lord. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them.

    It would appear from the 1611 KJV that Elisha was guilty of criminal child abuse. But to begin with, there's two different Hebrew words translated "children" in that passage.

    In verse 23, the word is na` ar (nah'-ar) which has a pretty wide application; and more than one meaning: 1) a boy from the age of infancy to adolescence 2) a servant (of either gender) 3) a girl (of similar latitude in. age as a boy)

    The word in verse 24 is yeled (yeh'-led) which has even more latitude than na` ar; and just simply means offspring, viz: the young of either man or beast, e.g. Gen 30:26 where yeled indicates not only Jacob's sons, but also his daughter Dinah. In other words: yeled speaks of somebody's kids; in this case the wayward kind, i.e. juvenile delinquents.

    A far more rational scenario is that Elisha was accosted by a youth gang; not by a posse of unsupervised little toddlers; as some have supposed. Youth gangs can be dangerous at times; and Elisha was very lucky to get away before they attacked him. The curse of the bears was obviously an act of self defense. They ran interference for Elisha; distracting the youths; thus creating an opportunity for Elisha to get away before the gang did more to him than just taunting.

    Here's a paraphrased way to look at it.

    "From there Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, some youths came out of the town and jeered at him. Go on up, baldy; they said. Let's see you go on up too, chrome dome. He turned around, glared at them and called down a curse on them in the name of The Lord. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the youths."

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